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@ C&binet: Vivendi Wants UK ‘Three-Strikes’, Mandelson Announcement Due Wednesday

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Far be it for a Frenchman to tell Britons how to legislate their creative industries – but Vivendi’s CEO told those gathered at the government’s C&binet forum anyway.

“it is totally obvious that it is in the interest of the British economy, which (has) impact over the whole world, that it should be doing something like the three-strikes system we are implementing (in France),” Jean-Bernard Lévy said.

Business, Innovation and Skills minister Lord Mandelson will be announcing government decisions about tackling file-sharing at C&binet on Wednesday, culture minister David Lammy said in his keynote on Tuesday.

France has now implemented its Hadopi (or “three strikes”) proposal to warn, warn again and then disconnect those who illegally download content. MEPs, too, have dropped their insistence that customers who are the subject of a disconnection order should receive a court hearing.

Ironically, France has actually committed to offering those court hearings. “But (in France) we will have an expedited way to get through a judge,” Lévy said, “- a bit like fines for speeding on the road; you have your driving licence taken off you but you don’t have to go through a judge.”

In the UK, Digital Britain proposed that Ofcom consider whether it should ask ISPs to institute a range of “technical measures” against persistent infringers, and Mandelson stepped in to propose suspension of customers’ ISP accounts, as a last resort, be one of those measures.

— Meanwhile, Vivendi (EPA: VIV) – which itself owns both ISPs and is a content owner – is profiting nicely from the 12 million subscribers playing its World Of Warcraft game online – Activision-Blizzard is planning to replicate that success with “a new multi-player game”, Lévy revealed…

“It will not be a substitution for World Of Warcraft, it will be more a different kind of audience, trying to avoid cannibalising (WoW).” Does that mean female gamers, he was asked?” “Well, it could be,” he said.